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Carn Dearg - walking around in the ocean of peat hags...

Carn Dearg - walking around in the ocean of peat hags...


Postby BlackPanther » Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:13 pm

Munros included on this walk: Carn Dearg (Monadhliath)

Date walked: 28/04/2012

Time taken: 6.5 hours

Distance: 21 km

Ascent: 871m

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Weather gods must have listened to my prayers at last and they gave us some sunshine for the final weekend of April. Yeah! Time to head for the hills :D :D :D
We chose Carn Dearg as our target because I had an unfinished business with Monadhliath. Last year in October we set off to climb the trio, but weather was c**p and we only did Carn Sgulain and A'Chailleach, leaving the third Munro for another day. Now this day has come!
Unfortunately, strong sunlight creates a problem for me, so again I had to apply sunscreen +50 (baby sun lotion :shock: ) and use sunglasses - I know I look like an idiot in dark glasses and winter hat, but sometimes one has to put up with oddities :lol: :lol:
It was a lovely morning, some high cloud still lingering over hill tops but we were full of hope as we arrived at the car park in Glen Banchor. The route starts by the bridge over the Allt a Chaorainn and continues along the track up the glen.

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By Dalchurn bridge:
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Glen Banchor from the car park:
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River Allt a Chaorainn from the bridge. The lingering cloud was worrying me a bit:
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The initial stage of the route was easy, on a good track. We turned right just before another bridge and a derelict lodge, to follow the track up Gleann Fionndrigh:
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A glimpse back in NE direction - The Cairngorms in full white coat:
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The track is quite wide to start with...
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...and as we climbed deeper into the glen, better vistas appeared:
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The long ridge of our target hill peaked out from behind the shoulder of Creag Liath:
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The track soon turned into a path, boggy in places, and eventually we arrived by a little footbridge over the stream:
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Past the bridge, the path continued into a muddy gorge, I thought it was the worst bog we were to encounter that day, oh, I was so wrong!
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I was wrong 'cause the moment we emerged from the gorge onto less steep shoulder of Meall na Ceardaich, we sunk into the swamp!
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Kevin made another mistake, by putting his old boots on, now he was complaining about wet feet. But it was too late to turn back now and he's usually a stubborn person, once on the way he wants to complete the task. Well...
I moved on to continue across the flatter area, every step accompanied with...
SPLASH!
SPLISH!
GLUMP!
SQUELCH!
GRRRR :evil: :evil: ! I hate peat hags!
We wasted a lot of time manoeuvring among these countless peat hags, trying to find the way across them. Most "channels" were too wide to jump over and when eventually we passed the last one, we both uttered a big sigh of relief. :D
The ocean of peat hags:
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We were deep into Gleann Ballach now, half way up the steep slope of Meall na Ceardaich, and when we looked up, the rocks were hanging just above our heads...
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We consulted the map and decided, the easiest way to get to the ridge was to simply continue up along the slope to the opposite end of the glen and to the summit of Carn Ballach (more or less):
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Views across the glen to Carn Dearg - breathtaking!
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The long push up to the plateau began to bore me at some point, I charged up as fast as I could, I wanted to be up quickly, see the views in all directions and leave the boring part behind:
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Clouds have thinned since we started our trip and sky was nice-blue now:
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... but the steep rocks of Carn Dearg still seemed to be just as far...
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... and finally, I looked around my shoulder only to find that Kevin was far, far behind me! I sat on a rock and waited for him to join me. I asked him what took him so long but he didn't want to tell me... A man full of mysteries...
Later he explained that he stopped to take some pictures and he showed me the results. I posted those in a separate thread here:
http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=20792
We continued uphill and when we reached the plateau, we were stunned. The world was white...white...white!
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Distant Cairngorms:
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Close-up:
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Carn Dearg and Carn Ban:
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It still looked far but not much more ascent, so I hoped to reach the summit soon:
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Even more distant hills were well visible on the horizon:
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We joined the main route through the plateau, marked by fence posts and walked to the summit of Carn Ban. Well, "walked" is probably not the most appropriate word to describe our movements. Snow was very deep in places so we practised some jumping, hopping and sliding :lol: :lol:
It was surprisingly warm and I even dared to take my hat off:
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Carn Dearg from Carn Ban:
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The final push to the summit of Carn Dearg:
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Ben Alder group:
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View east from the col between Carn Ban and Carn Dearg:
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The summit cairn is tiny and situated on the very edge of sheer drop. Not a place for those with weak head for heights!
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View north from the top:
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And the southern vista:
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We discussed the return route. I wasn't keen on returning the way we came and having to cross all these b***dy peat hags again, neither was Kevin and his leaking boots! The south-eastern shoulder of Carn Dearg looked a reasonable option to drop down and it would save us a few kilometres as well. Besides, on the summit of Carn Ban we passed a group of walkers who, as we deduced, must have ascended Carn Dearg this way.
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We didn't waste much time and carried on along the ridge, with beautiful views still accompanying us:
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The top of the Munro from the eastern shoulder:
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We still had more than enough daylight to enjoy the walk and I suggested a longer break on the slopes of Carn Dearg:
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Kevin didn't want to sit on the snow though :lol: :lol: ...
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...and he started to look for a suitable place...
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...but in the end it was me who found the perfect spot, with one superb panorama down to Coire nan Laogh and Loch Dubh:
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Eventually we left the mountain for good and descended to Gleann Ballach. It turned out to be a relatively easy route, just wet in places but after the peat hag feast earlier on I would be a fool to complain about a few boggy patches :lol: :lol:
There is no prominent path down along the Allt Ballach, but the ground is easy enough and it offers quick going on grass and heather, squelchy sometimes as I mentioned, but far away from a swamp. Soon we were back down in Glen Banchor.
The last glimpse up, at Carn Dearg and friends:
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In Glen Banchor we picked a path following the river back to the abandoned buildings in Glenballoch and eventually returned to the car park by the tarmac road. I was all sticky from sun screen (which I kept applying in fear for getting burned) and Kevin's boots sounded more squelchy than the bog we just crossed, but apart from that we were all happy :D :D :D
So, to sum up, a slightly different route to the usual Monadhliath traverse, but apart from the bog-peat hag issue, a very enjoyable one. Meow!
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BlackPanther
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Re: Carn Dearg - walking around in the ocean of peat hags...

Postby mrssanta » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:39 pm

I'll remember to avoid that peat if I ever go that way. Very informative as always :D I like your hat I have one similar
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mrssanta
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Re: Carn Dearg - walking around in the ocean of peat hags...

Postby soulminer » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:48 pm

I am not a lover of peat hags and bog eithers- yuk, hate the festering stench :) Bog apart, the Monadhliath are fine hills especially in winter plumage, unlike the Ptarmigan 8) :lol:
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soulminer
 
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Re: Carn Dearg - walking around in the ocean of peat hags...

Postby ChrisW » Tue May 01, 2012 5:32 am

Another spectacular day in the hills BP, how beautiful the mountains look with that fresh dusting of snow. The weather certainly seems to be taking some huge swings in direction, good to see you out making the most of it (peat hags or not :wink: ) :lol: :lol:
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ChrisW
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